Rose Plays Julie (2021)

Rose Plays Julie (2021)

An ice-cold quest for truth and justice, with a cool and calculated lead performance

7.2

Movie

Ireland, United Kingdom
English
Drama, Thriller
2021
CHRISTINE MOLLOY, FEMALE DIRECTOR
Aidan Gillen, Alan Howley, Ann Skelly
100 min

TLDR

Proof that you can trust in the Irish to do a better remix of what the Brits tried doing before.

What it's about

A woman uncovers a past crime as she goes looking for her biological parents.

The take

It would be easy to define Rose Plays Julie as a cross between Promising Young Woman and Killing Eve, but this psychological thriller turns the camp factor down to zero and makes even just the act of watching somebody else an existential experience. Directors Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy treat this story with stone-cold intensity (perhaps to a fault), transforming their title character from a confused girl to somebody who relishes the power they have to disrupt other people's lives through her mere existence. There's something eerie about it that crawls under your skin if you let it, like a ghost story told among the living.

What stands out

In the lead role, Ann Skelly at times seems impossible to read, but that's exactly how her character manages to worm her way into places she shouldn't be. Skelly's reserved performance is one part avenging angel, one part ghost of Christmas past, but she still retains an innocence and pain upon learning the dark circumstances of her character's birth and subsequent separation from her parents. She isn't an all-powerful anti-heroine, which isn't what this particular story calls for anyway. But she still manages to set things in motion, seemingly without any fear for her own safety.

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